Powerlifting tournament kicks off big month for Bobcats

January 4, 2012

The open basketball courts inside Basehor-Linwood High School will be filled with weights, squat racks and the site of powerlifters attempting to complete a lift at 9 a.m. Saturday when the school plays host to its annual powerlifting meet.

The meet will feature about 600 powerlifters from 30 schools. Area schools include Leavenworth, Tonganoxie, Mill Valley, Royal Valley, Topeka High and Wamego. Ulysses High School, which is near the Kansas and Colorado border, is traveling to participate in the meet. From the Missouri side, Lawson and Lathrop are attending.

Based on weight, lifters will participate in the bench press, squat and hang clean.

The meet is open to the public, and admission is free.

This is the fifth year for the meet, which is kicking off a month of tournaments at the high school. The following week, the Bobcat Classic Wrestling Invitational will take place, followed by the Basehor-Linwood Boys and Girls Basketball Invitational a week later.

“It has become a very positive event from the standpoint that the kids take pride in it,” BLHS strength and conditioning coach Ross Schwisow said. “A lot of schools are repeating to come back. It is a great day for competition.”

This is also the first meet of the season for the team, which boasts 120 members. The meet is a chance for younger athletes to see what the sport is all about. They also can see the work they need to do to improve and compete.

Powerlifting has effectively helped students — both athletes and non-athletes — get involved in an activity, Schwisow said.

“It has been a great tool for us to get kids involved,” he said. “We try to get kids involved and help them get confidence and get better at it. The older kids need to get competitive in it. We don’t train them for powerlifting, but these are skills that carry on into other seasons. It is a good tool to use. Our kids have bought into it.”

The meet will take place as a result of a big volunteer effort. More than 100 volunteers will help run the meet. In addition, 60 judges are alumni or graduates who have returned to help run the meet.

“Over half of those are graduates of the program; it is a neat experience for them,” Schwisow said. “It makes the kids want to lift and work hard.”

The meet also will raise money for the school’s Wellness Center.

“We have the Wellness Center, but a lot of equipment is bought through (proceeds from) the powerlifting meet and things like that,” Schwisow said.

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